Saturday, November 22, 2008

geeking out lit style

So I got this bitchen idea for either a master's thesis or an extended essay. I haven't decided which, but I actually really want to write this because I think it is an increadbly interesting idea.

One of the most meaningful peices of theory I have ever read is Violence of the Sacred. It is an anthropological text which discusses revenge, the problems/dangers of revenge and how variouse societys have come up with ways of coping with it. Yeah human sacrifice is one of them. Its really hard to explain how it works, and its been a long time since I"ve read it, but the dime store explanation is that we only sacfrice animals that represent victems, lambs and such. In addition the only people who are sacrificed are marginalized peoples. Through this sacrifice the source of the unrest is disapated. Yeah wierd logical leap i know, it is the one detail I always forget, but it is a fantastic book.

Anyway what I wanted to do was to look at the horror genera. A large number of horror stories are revenge stories in one form or another. A quick look at the shelves will demonstrate all sorts of revenge based plots; The Hills Have Eyes, Candyman, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm St, I Know What you Did Last Summer, and even Leperchaun. That was just a list that I came up with off the top of my head it goes much much further than that. It is everywhere.

One important thing that first needs to be examined is the idea of the revenge drama represented as horror. Horror is a funny genra as it is increadbly ancient art form that mostly wandered around the ancient germanic peoples. You know I would actually be interested to learn more about the actual roots of horror, I set it in the germanic area because of Grim's tales which are just recorded versions of much more ancient stories. Well that's all interesting I'll go find a book on the subject though I'll be buggered if I am going to go write it myself ugh.

Anyway horror, stories are hugely cautionary in nature. The art form hasn't really evolved much past the idea of stay out of the fucking wilderness because bad things happen out there. Oddly enough the wilderness includes both the forests and the deserts. You would think that people wouldn't need a cautionary story about staying out of the desert but no there they are. Its fucking hot out there and people are stupid. Not the point. The point is that many of these stories have an almost instinctual idea of the dangers inherent within revenge and the problems that revenge represents. Girrad, who wrote violence and the sacred, claims that our society manages to get by due to our overly complex jusitice system.

Our justice system takes punishment out of the hands of the victem and puts it into the hands of a dispassionate 3rd party. That's more or less how it is supposed to work with sacrifice too. Anyway, his book was anthropological in nature so the other chapters are him romping through time figgureing things out. He also wrote it in the 70's so many of the big name horror movies I named weren't around at the time of his writting. I don't know enough about horror movies before the 70's to really throw out some more names, but I am sure there are more revenge stories out there. I just haven't seen or read about them to really get a grasp on them.

Besides, that isn't so much what I want to focus on. Two of the biggest horror movie franchises ever made are Nightmare and Elm St., and Friday the 13th. These are more than just movies, they are franchises, both the charecters of these movies are nationaly known charecters who are blazed onto the consiose of an entire generation of people. Hell its pretty close to two generations of people actually, and that is pretty god damn impressive.

What I mainly wanted to focus on for a large portion of the essay would be Friday the 13th. Friday is a long running series that is, at its core, stupidly simplistic, and yet it has spawned 11 movies. What I wanted to do is instead of treating each individual movie as a text unto itself I would rather take the entire franchise as a whole and treat it as one text. When you do this all sorts of neat things happens because it tracks the spiraling destruction that revenge brings.

See the first movie is a straight up no frills revenge movie, grieving mother going after the irresponcibl shits that killed her son. Good stuff. Latter on in the series you have jason clopping around and that's neat. There is one movie in paticular, I can't remeber which one but it has a bunch of people with paint ball guns running around in the woods, that posses an extreamly complex moralistic core to it. When examined under a Giradian light the whole movie becomes a dense moralistic weave that makes a variety of statements, some of them conflicting. I would of course have to see the movie again. Anyway the section would end with Freddy vs. Jason.
Alright lets stop here for a moment. Yeah you got me, I just wanted to write a paper about Freddy vs. Jason sue me.
In Freddy Vs. Jason Freddy misapropriates Jason's desire for revenge for his own devices. Not only that but the series comes nearly full circle as his mother is used as the vehicle for awakening Jason so that he may begin his killing spree anew. So what was once a pure revenge storiy becomes increasingly muddled and more and more bizzare until you end with Jason killing random people off in left field. That is some cool shit right there.

When the series is viewed as a whole the destructive nature of revenge really comes out and shows off what it can do in terms of carnage. I'm excited and I think that it is something I really want to go fowards with. I dunno, though I kinda also want to get into a doctoral program and I don't really want my specialty to be film. We'll see though.

About the outer church politics stuff. No I haven't forgotten about it. I've just sort of had to take a break from my research materials because of some personal things so my writting on the subject has slowed down quite a bit. I also had a problem with the society thing. I realize now though that society doesn't have to have all that big of an effect on us, the same way that reading a bible doesn't make you kill jews, video games don't cause violence, and loud music doesn't make me worship satan. To some degree it does sure, but you know what, the more self aware you are the more control you have over how much it affects you. I think everyone should be more self aware and this is all working out the wayt I said it should.

So I am going to regather up all my research materials and start again. Or erm keep going. It was just a wierd wierd semester for me, you kids have no idea. Anyway, I am off to see the wizard, which means go back to work ugh. Heh I should post most of this! Well love you all and goodnight.

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